After seeing the quality of design produced by UNSW students in response to the inaugural Royal Doulton and UNSW Art & Design Award, Dik Delaney, the Global Design Director of Royal Doulton was determined to meet the six finalists, when he recently travelled to Australia.

Accompanied by Jane Varley, National Marketing Manager, Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton (WWRD), and Charlene Mullen, designer of the Royal Doulton 200 Celebration Range, Delaney was guest of honour at an animated morning tea with Ross Harley before taking a tour of the ceramics studio led by Rod Bamford, one of the initiators of the award.

In 2014, Royal Doulton launched the inaugural award with UNSW Art & Design as part of RD’s 200th anniversary celebration. Third and fourth year undergraduate design students were challenged to produce original ideas to celebrate the RD brand at this historic moment. 

Delaney was in Australia for the anniversary celebration but felt compelled to meet the finalists after seeing their creative work.

“The quality was amazing,” said Mr Delaney. “Everyone at RD was impressed with the overall standard.”

The winning student, Jaimee Paul, received a prestigious four-week internship at the WWRD Design department in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. Paul created a striking range, titled Hom-age, that is cleverly designed to encourage dinner conversation around topical issues such as our modern disconnection with mass-produced food.

This was the first time Paul had worked in ceramics, majoring in graphics and textiles. She bought the ceramic ware from Brookvale Ceramics Studio and painted it. As Paul commented, “I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, I’m not a ceramicist so I worked to my strengths.”

According to Delaney, Paul shares this process with the many guest designers and artists who have partnered with Royal Doulton and discovered new processes, designs and concepts with their ceramics; “When you come from a different discipline you have a different attitude, and way of designing. This is one of the qualities that keeps Royal Doulton fresh.”

Royal Doulton has a long history of collaborating with young designers to keep the brand innovative and diverse. In the 1860s, Henry Doulton began employing young design students from the neighbouring Lambeth School of Art. Doulton forged a strong relationship with the school, exhibiting experimental works by students at the 1867 Paris Exhibition and the 1871 London Exhibition. By the end of that decade, the number of students employed at RD had increased to over a hundred.

Paul’s internship at Staffordshire is a continuation of this 200-year-old legacy. Delaney explained Paul would be working closely with the rest of the 17-person studio on a ‘live’ project because of the mutual benefits.

‘It’s the best way to learn,’ says Delaney. ‘And the cross-pollination of ideas in the studio is the best way of producing new designs.’

You can find out more about the award here.

Read more about Jaimee Paul’s design here